Church of San Giovanni Battista (1996) by Mario Botta

Church of San Giovanni Battista (1996) by Mario Botta

Asher 4:53 pm 4:53 pm

 

Mario Botta -The Space Beyond (Official Trailer – English) from Michael Glowacki on Vimeo.

 

 

Located in Mogno, Switzerland, Church of San Giovanni Battista (1996) by Mario Botta | The Hardt

 

The Church of San Giovanni Battista (Italian: Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista; German: Kirche San Giovanni Battista) is located in the alpine village of Mogno in the Swiss canton of Ticino. Mario Botta describes his mountainous architecture as influenced by “two points of interaction: the exterior with the landscape; the interior with the domestic.” In this study I examine how his design of two churches in Ticino, Switzerland addresses the dissonance between the stoic exterior of the mountains and the touch of human scale inviting worshipers to solitude. I analyze Botta’s mountainous churches of the Chapel of St. Mary of the Angels, built in Monte Tamaro, 1990-1996 and the San Giovanni Battista Church, built in Mogno, 1992-1998  

The two churches exemplify the challenges of designing a house of worship for small parishes within breathtaking nature. The first challenge addresses the design solutions in the context of remote areas in the Alps. These locations evoke in themselves a spiritual experience, and the issue is how architecture contributes to the desired spiritual solitude. Second, both buildings were built from local stones linking them to their specific sites, expressing monumental qualities, and adhering to the spiritual qualities of the space: “Although the landscape is immense, the insertion of even a small object changes the scenery.” This solution brings with it the idea of architecture transforming the landscape, which in turn stimulates the spirit of man. Third, in each of the churches light is treated to enhance spiritual transcendence and to illustrate divine presence. Furthermore, these churches may be perceived as part of the continuous attempt of humans to build pillars from stone as a sacred link between earth and heaven, and as an expression of possessing the mountain. 

 

 


 

Mountains

Mountains are perceived as God’s dwelling and as a spot where the sacred manifests itself: “Now Mount Sinai was altogether in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly” (Exodus 19:18). Moreover, the echoes of the surrounding mountains are perceived as the voices of spirits.4 These spiritual experiences inspire humans to erect their own ‘sacred mountains’. See for example the story of Jacob who set the stone up as a pillar and poured oil on its top to establish a sacred vertical axis (Genesis 28:18). These sacred structures often imitate in stone the form of mountains or are built on top of a mountain.  

Botta’s two churches are good examples for both of these approaches. The chapel in Monte Tamaro stands on top of the mountain and “’detaches’ itself from the mountain to form a new horizon, the starting point of an ideal viaduct.”5 The external horizontal axis of this chapel creates a sacred path offering a new glimpse of the mountains as a continuation of the worshiper-pilgrim’s infinite path for meditation and thought. Botta claims that building the chapel was a sign of a man in the landscape encompassing “the tension between man and nature.” The Church in Mogno was constructed as a vertical “pillar” becoming the focal point of the valley’s skyline, where two points in the valley are bridged to transform the landscape. This vertical axis expresses the spiritual axis mundi of the village, standing “as a bulwark for the village, in defiance of the mountain.” Indeed the church in Mogno was built in a place of an avalanche that caused death and loss. The location was requested by the residents of the village who said, “We want to construct a new church because there used to be a church here.” Thus the driving force underlying the project was maintaining the collective memory of the community. Botta’s design “brings with it not only the geography but also the memory, the culture, the history of that very place.” 

 

 


 

Stone

The use of locally quarried stones in the design of these churches expresses the specificity of the place as well as permanence and human longings for eternity. Stone is part of the layers and colors of the earth as shaped by winds and water and reveals the sacredness of the earth. In a poetic way stone is a gift of nature that illustrates the soul of the earth. Botta believes that putting a stone on earth is a sacred act of architecture and signifies the possession of the earth. This act “strives to evoke the deepest values suggested by the language of stones. Their symbolic and metaphoric meaning becomes an extraordinarily current message that involves the architect beyond the religious sphere.”

The chapel in Monte Tamaro is constructed from reinforced concrete faced with rusticated porphyry. This stone façade makes the chapel blend into the rocks of the mountain and transforms the mountain’s peak into a new height. Botta introduces us to a temporal visual experience with an outdoor procession on top of the chapel/the mountain. The stone of this chapel is facing the exterior only; the interior concrete is painted black and white to enhance the interplay of light and shadow and to create an intimate place to showcase contemporary liturgical art. Plastering the walls for displaying art resembles the fresco chapels in history.

In contrast, the church in Mogno is built of alternating courses of gray Riveo granite and white Peccia marble outside and inside, reminding us of some of the Tuscan Romanesque cathedrals. As such it continues a long history of church construction and creates a statement of permanence. The stone in this church demonstrates Botta’s mass architecture and enhances the transformation of the geometry of the building from a square plan to an ellipse and then to a circle. 

Light

While stone construction is a sacred act of architecture representing earth and permanence, the light becomes the soul of this act by introducing heaven. Eliade stated: “Even before any religious values have been set upon the sky it reveals its transcendence. The sky symbolizes transcendence, power, and changelessness simply by being there. It exists because it is high, infinite, immovable, powerful.”15 Light enhances the meaning of materials, forms, lines, and colors and beautifies the building. The visual experience in sacred settings contributes to the connection of the human with a higher order of things, with the essential and the immutable truth. The heavenly light in sacred settings illustrates the divine presence and is perceived as an attempt to enrich the inner spiritual experience of Lord as Light.17 This, in turn, fulfills human striving to be closer to the Divine. Moreover, light creates the temporal ambiance of the sacred since it is “the visual sign of the relationship that exists between the architectural work and the cosmic values of the surroundings.” Interestingly Botta treated this relation of light to the cosmos differently in the two churches. The chapel at Monte Tamaro, which is located below the outdoor crucifix, under the walkway on top of the mountain, is dimly lit like a grotto. Natural light penetrates through very small windows in the bottom of the circular sidewalls and through slits from a skylight. This light effect and the space’s strong linear path draw our attention to the artwork at the apes and diminish the invitation to meditation inside a protective ‘cave’ in the mountains. 

In the Mogno church, Botta introduced the ever-changing patterns of light and the relation to the cosmos through a circular glass roof. The sky opens up beyond the glass roof and brings the worshiper closer to the Divine. Two granite buttresses pierce the envelope of the building, arch over the interior and create an axis that aligns with the nave’s axis of the destroyed historic church. The light coming from above highlights this connection to the past and eternity. It also demonstrates Botta’s transformational geometry in stone. This, in turn, creates an interplay of stone layout, natural light, and shadows. In this church, Botta used light to capture the passage of time and establish our relationship with the solar, seasonal cycles and the eternal.  

Intense Text via ArtWay

Today marks 2 years since I started TheHardt Instagram account. I had no clue that I would end up embracing my creativity to such an extent that an excitingly beautiful website would be born. Thanks for joing me on this adventure and I promise to continue curating fire content for you plus lots more. 

 

Check out more on Mario Botta below

 

 

MARIO BOTTA, Mountain Church, Ticino, Switzerland from Ivan Maria Friedman on Vimeo.

 


 

Aesthetically and Geographically Related Projects:

 

 

 


 

Holy Rosary Church Complex (2004) by Trahan Architects

Holy Rosary Church Complex (2004) by Trahan Architects

Asher 3:27 pm 3:27 pm

Holy Rosary Church Complex (2004) by Trahan Architects located In Louisiana, USA. | The Hardt

Holy Rosary Church Complex (2004) by Trahan Architects located In Louisiana, USA. The design of the Holy Rosary Complex-comprised of an oratory, administrative building, and religious education building-for a rural Catholic Parish In South Louisiana is an honest exploration of form, function, light, and materials that result in an engaging and profound study in sacred space. Neither opulent nor austere, Holy Rosary Chapel presents a thoughtful meditation on sacred spaces and the spatial embodiment of spiritual experience. The masterplan for the rural campus creates a strong sense of place and draws a distinction between the program’s sacred and secular components. Secular components of the campus take form as linear or “edge” buildings-an administrative block, two linear classroom bars, a religious education building-which form the courtyard in which the oratory is located. The oratory, or chapel, is the focus of the otherwise orthogonal composition but is itself skewed to further underscore its importance and to create a sense of expectation.

 

 


 

Working with a limited palette of poured-in-place concrete, plate glass, and cast glass, the architects created a meditative environment that places a high importance on spatial characteristics and the play of light on-these humble materials. Design of the oratory stems from the concept of the womb-a universal, pure and sacred space. All six sides of the oratory cube sides are equal in size, a color, and texture. The result is an interior space that feels encompassing, protective and mysterious.  Light enters through a variety of openings carved from the wall thickness without revealing context or light source beyond. In addition to giving occupants a sense of orientation, the obscured presence of light is symbolic of The paschal mystery of Christ. 

 


 

Aesthetically and Geographically Related Projects:

 


 

Santa Maria Do Bouro Convent (1997) by Eduardo Souto de Moura + Humberto Vieira

Santa Maria Do Bouro Convent (1997) by Eduardo Souto de Moura + Humberto Vieira

Asher 2:41 pm 8:49 pm

Located in Cemitério de Bouro, Portugal, Santa Maria Do Bouro Convent (1997) by Eduardo Souto de Moura + Humberto Vieira | The Hardt

 

Located in Cemitério de Bouro, Portugal, Santa Maria Do Bouro Convent (1997) by Eduardo Souto de Moura + Humberto Vieira. This project aims to adapt, or rather, to make use of the stones available to build a new building. It is a new building, in which various voices and functions (some already registered, other still to be constructed) intervene; it is not a reconstruction of the building in its original form. For this project, the ruins are more important than the “Convent”, it is they that are open and manipulable, just as the building was during its history.

 


This attitude is not meant to express or represent an exceptional case justifying some original manifesto, but rather to abide by a rule of architecture, more or less unchanging throughout time. During the design process, a lucidity was sought for between the form and the program. Faced with two possible paths, we chose to reject the pure and simple consolidation of the ruin for the sake of contemplation, opting instead for the introduction of new materials, uses, forms, and functions “entre leschoses”, as Corbusier said. The “picturesque” is a question of fate, nor part of a project or program.

 

Check out my guy minimalist master, Shinici, plus other masterminds below:

 


 

Waterside Buddist Shrine (2017) by ARCHSTUDIO

Waterside Buddist Shrine (2017) by ARCHSTUDIO

Asher 7:49 pm 6:46 pm

Located in Tangshan, Hebei, China, Waterside Buddist Shrine (2017) by ARCHSTUDIO | The Hardt

 

Located in Tangshan, Hebei, China, Waterside Buddist Shrine (2017) by ARCHSTUDIO. The design started from the connection between the building and nature, adopts the method of earthing to hide the building under the earth mound while presenting the divine temperament of nature with flowing interior space. A place with the power of perception where trees, water, Buddha and human coexist is thus created. The relationship with nature further extends to the use of materials. Integral concreting is used in walls and the roof of the building. The concrete formwork is pieced together with pine strips of 1.1 inch (3cm) width, in this way natural wood grain and vertical linear texture are impressed on the interior surface, creating a soft and warm feeling to the cold concrete materials. Built-in-furniture is custom-made with wood strips, whose grey wood grain is a little bit different from the concrete walls.

 

 

 


 

 

Aesthetically and Geographically Related Projects:

 


 

MENU
SEARCH
The Hardt

Pin It on Pinterest